Teenager hurt in bike race

Last updated 05:00 05/01/2011
Nick Cain
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STABLE: Nick Cain received head, back and spinal injuries after crashing during a motorcycle race.

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A Christchurch teenager seriously injured in a Nelson motorcycle race will have surgery on his broken vertebrae.

Nick Cain, 17, suffered head, back and spinal injuries when he crashed in the annual Port Nelson Street Race on Sunday.

Cain, who was flown to Christchurch Hospital on Monday, will have surgery today.

His condition was described as serious but stable.

His father, Geoff Cain, said the prognosis was "excellent", and his son was conscious and "everything still works".

"At the moment, there are two cracked vertebrae and one that's broken right through," he said. "Theoretically, if he tried to stand up it could break his spinal cord."

Witness Chris Matz said Cain was racing a Husqvarna 450 and was on the second lap of his second race.

"[Cain] was on the outside taking the same lines as a couple of other bikes when he seemed to come into contact with another bike," he said.

Matz saw Cain thrown into hay bales on the side of the road.

Geoff Cain was part of the pit crew but did not see the accident.

"I was counting the laps of where he was in the race and noticed he hadn't come around," he said. "Someone from the race said, `You'd better get down there; it's Nick that's crashed'."

He said his son was on the straight and travelling at more than 150kmh when he crashed.

Geoff Cain, who was a racer for more than 35 years, said it was likely the fluid in the brakes "boiled", causing them to fail.

His son's carbon-fibre helmet had "certainly done a good job".

However, he was unsure whether the accident would put his son off racing. His son was "mad keen on bikes" and had been racing since age 11.

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